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Uncertainty, Confusion in the Market, Huge Market Swings.



Overall Market Health Summary, News & Notices:
Uncertainty, Confusion in the Market, Huge Market Swings.... 
I'd like to start off by saying that I respect everyone's decisions, wether to close the doors for the next couple weeks or to stay open offering curb side pick up in efforts to keep employees working. I talk to a lot of restaurant owners, managers and executive chefs each day, and I'm hearing that the decisions made were some of the hardest ones they've ever had to make while running their restaurants. Just know that if there is anything I can do to help, please let me know. We're all on the same team.
While restaurants are challenged with the decision to stay open or close, grocery stores, smaller butcher shops and food processors are going through meat as fast as it can be brought in. Some processors are trying to get as much food product made and into freezers while they still have workers and meat supplies. Grocery stores are buying everything by the truck load, just trying to keep their shelves stocked. Other butcher shops are making meat bundles in advance for customers to come pick up and fill their freezers, doing what they can to keep up with the demand.
  • ** My Potential idea for restaurants/butchery customers: People want to fill their freezers with quality meats, they want to support locally owned businesses... Why not consider putting together meat bundles for their freezers, thus keeping your employees busy cutting steaks, packaging items, possible even buying half pigs and breaking them down. Demand for processed beef and pork sides is extremely high. You can buy locally raised market pig sides from us relatively cheap, and it's a great way to sell the entire side, and increase your value with your existing customers.
  • ** My Second idea for restaurants: People may not want to buy an entire pig, nor have to figure out how to cook it. What if you were to offer fully cooked family meal items like lasagna, meat loaf, spaghetti, sides, etc. that people can buy and put in their freezers? Selling curb pick up meals is a great way to start, but why not offer them higher volume purchases for their freezer? There will come a time when people will not want to leave their houses unless they have to.
Ground Beef - Demand for ground beef is at an all time high it seems. On an average week, Wenneman grinds in house and sells between 2,500 and 3,000 pounds of fresh ground beef to wholesale and retail customers. As of 4 pm Thursday, Wenneman had ground and sold 25,000 pounds of fresh ground beef this week alone.
Crazy numbers - High volumes of meat are being processed at Wenneman. Our slaughter of beef has doubled and our pork slaughter has increased dramatically. Wenneman also brings in truck loads of pork from Seaboard and beef from other providers. There are days this week when we may have two or three truck loads of meat being delivered to us. This is truly unprecedented.
High volume combo orders - Each week, I sell 2,000 pound containers called "combos" of pork or pallets of beef to food processors and other butcher shops. These combos mostly are boneless Callies, 72% pork trimmings, fresh bellies, cushion meat and more. Orders for those combos have to be placed a week in advance to lock in the price I give the customers. I can no longer get pricing from our providers, as they just don't know what the markets will be when the pigs are being processed. Thus, we have to buy "blind" and just pay what they charge us when it arrives at our plant. Needless to say, several of those food processors have decided to close at the end of this week for at least 2 weeks.
Market News: Expect unprecedented price increases across the board. However, at least one major warehouse provider is being associated with "price gouging", and being investigated. Be cautious, be smart, be informed when making your purchases. President Trump stated last week that "price gouging" would not be tolerated and those who do, will be prosecuted. This is not a political newsletter, but this is an important note, to help keep prices in line during this time.
Retailers are finding unprecedented traffic in supermarkets across the country. Stocking up and eating at home are in the cards for many Americans during this health crisis. Meat counters were watching the shelves for cut selections of consumers as they plan eat at home menus. They are joining with the processors in holding on to wide margins on all meat products. Retail prices have shown no signs of weakening and there appears to be little reason for a retailer to run features when they can sell all they can buy at prevailing prices. 
Testing for the virus will ramp up during the coming weeks and we will find more people are infected. Coronavirus will continue to spread and all people will continue to eat. Eating patterns will change. Food selection will change. More food will be consumed at home. Understanding how those changes impact the demand for proteins will be a work in progress.
Grain Futures: Corn prices moved higher. Futures prices are leaving little incentive for farmers to carry grain forward. This is encouraging farmers to market grain now and the corn basis is weakening at 60 over the May board in Guymon, Oklahoma.
Upcoming "National Days" - Add Some Fun to Your Daily Specials - I'm not sure who thinks of these things or how in the world they became "National Days". Enjoy!
  • March 20 - National Ravioli Day
  • March 21 - National French Bread Day
  • National Corn Dog Day
  • March 22 - National Bavarian Crepes Day
  • March 23 - National Chip & Dip Day
  • National Melba Toast day
  • March 24 - National Chocolate Covered Raisin Day
  • National Cheesecake Day
  • March 25 - National Lobster Newburg Day
  • March 26 - National Nougat Day
  • National Spinach Day
  • March 27 - National Spanish Paella Day
People buy from people.... Businesses work together...
This is my family, this is who I am. When you buy from me, you help my family. Soccer games, t-ball, stroller walks, bike rides, learning to read, night time stories, dirty diapers and more, I love every minute of it. I want to thank You for your business in the past and going forward, my family thanks you as well. In general, I'm no one special, but to them, I mean the world. I'm very lucky.
Wenneman Price Sheet Notables: 
  • Beef –  Chuck Rolls went down, Ribeyes, inside rounds, peeled knuckle, strip loins, top butts, bottom round flats and ground beef went up.
  • Pork Market Pigs are still just $0.95/#. Fresh bellies, boneless Callies, fresh hams, pork butts, pork steaks, baby back ribs, blade on pork loins, smoked pork loins, all pork chops, boneless pork loins, smoked bone in hams and bacon all went up. Some fresh sausages went up as well.
  • Chicken – Chicken prices are unchanged!
  • Turkey – We have locked in whole frozen turkey prices through the remainder of 2020. Pre-Order now.
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Nationwide Market Reports according to various USDA, beef & pork industry web sites, market discussion & somewhat educated guess...
Beef  Beef numbers are not available at this time, sorry. 
  • Boxed beef cutout values sharply higher on good demand and heavy offerings. Select and Choice chuck and round cuts higher while rib cuts steady. Choice loin cuts steady while Select lower.
  • Retail demand for beef continues to dominate the news as consumers load up on food causing rapid turnover in the supermarkets and calling for replenished supplies. Packers are expected to step up Saturday's slaughter schedule in order to satisfy demand for beef to restock the meat counters. Eating patterns are in flux as restaurants close and eating at home and with take out become changing lifestyle habits. It is unclear how changing those habits will impact beef consumption but guesses are it will not decline. 
  • The choice cutout prices began a leveling out process after a three day increase of $40 on the choice boxes and an all time record for a three day run. Rapidly turning over meat counters will require more product until supplies catch up.
  • The livestock industry still relies on many auction markets across the country to connect breeders, stocker operators and cattle feeders. Cattle are offered live in the sales rings and buyers in the seats surrounding the ring, bid and buy. The suggestion that all meeting places for greater than 10 people be shuttered, could pose a threat to this important marketing tool for producers. It also could help speed the movement to remote cameras and bidders. Online auctions currently exist but are often plagued with glitches. 
  • Beef demand will be driven by the consumer. Less beef will be distributed through food service companies. Restaurants will close and those that do not close will find diminished traffic. Fast food may survive this event because of drive up windows and take out orders. The run on supermarket meat supplies of the past few days is some indication of the change in purchasing patterns by consumers. A major component of the government rescue packages will be to provide financial assistance to those most impacted by disruptions to their wages. This disruption should be temporary and the bridge should keep beef demand on a steady course domestically.
Pork –   Pork Slaughter under federal inspection was at 2,679,000. Live weights averaged 287 pounds and dressed weights averaged 215 pounds. Primal bellies somehow came down a couple cents, while other primal loins, butts, Callies, ribs and hams went up. Loins, butts, Callies and ribs had the highest increase.
  • Most animal coronaviruses infect the intestinal or respiratory tracts and cause diarrhea or respiratory disease. Linda Saif, virologist and distinguished professor in the Food Animal Health Research Program at The Ohio State University, says the best examples of coronaviruses that infect the gut and cause diarrhea and deaths in pigs are PEDV and PDCoV that first emerged in the United States in 2013-14 and are still present in pigs. These viruses are members of two different groups of coronaviruses — alpha and delta CoV. Saif explains they are genetically distinct and do not cross-protect against one another.
  • Heather Fowler, director of producer and public health at National Pork Board, reiterates there is no evidence to suggest that COVID-19 can be spread through food or food packaging.
  • China’s agriculture ministry announced a new case of African swine fever in pigs in Sichuan province that were illegally transported from other provinces. The outbreak was discovered in Leshan on a truck transporting 111 pigs from other provinces, Reuters reports.
  • The bad news is that globally, the disease isn’t going away. More and more countries are declaring positive ASF cases. 
Chicken –  Weekly broiler-fryer slaughter under federal inspection for the week ending 21-Mar-20 is estimated to be 174,514,000 head up 2.35 percent from a week ago, and up 6.80 percent from a year ago. (Last week 170,505,000, last year 163,402,000)
  • Whole broiler/fryer prices are firm for all sizes. Offerings are light to moderate with some premiums noted. Retail demand is moderate to good, and food service demand is light entering the weekend. Floor stocks are balanced to light. Processing schedules are normal to over time with reports of plants working extra shifts to satisfy increased needs. Market activity is moderate to active. 
  • In the parts structure, the market tone is steady to firm on boneless skinless breasts and most dark meat items. Wings are steady to weak, and the balance of parts are steady to mostly firm. Offerings of boneless skinless breasts are tight, wings are moderate to heavy with jumbo sizes in the weakest position. The remainder of parts are light to moderate. Market activity for parts is moderate to active. In production areas, live supplies are moderate. Weights are mixed, but noted as mostly desirable.
Turkey - The market on frozen 8-16 lb. hens and 16-24 lb. toms is steady to firm. Demand light to moderate. Frozen processor offerings of Grade A 8-16 lb. hens and 16-24 lb. toms are light to moderate.  
  • The market on white trims mostly steady, fresh tom breast meat and destrapped tenderloins steady while frozen white meat is steady to weak. Demand on scapula fresh tom breast meat and destrapped tenderloins light to moderate, balance of white trims light. Offerings of scapula and fresh white meat light to moderate, balance of white trims and frozen white meat moderate to heavy. 
  • The market on 4-8 lb. and institutional sized bone-in breasts steady with some finding a stronger undertone on 4-8 lb. breasts. Demand light to moderate with increased interest noted on 4-8 lb. breasts. Offerings mostly moderate. The market on tom and hen bulk parts is steady to firm, strongest for retail destined product. Demand light to good, mostly moderate with retail interest the most active. Offerings of hen bulk parts very light to moderate. Offering of tom bulk parts light to moderate. Ground turkey demand good. 
  • The fresh thigh meat market is steady while frozen steady to weak. Demand light to moderate with fresh the most active and some increased interest noted on frozen. Offerings of fresh light to moderate and frozen moderate to heavy. 
  • The mechanically separated turkey market is steady. Demand moderate with improvement noted. Offerings light to moderate, mostly light. Trading slow to moderate.
Instagram, tag us:
I personally believe that we could all elevate the St. Louis food scene even more with a food based forum. TableGab.com is the place where:
  • Chefs can promote themselves, their creations, blogs, photos, etc.
  • Restaurants can promote their food, drink, entertainment, banquet space and more. Upload daily specials, etc.
  • Foodies can interact with chefs and restaurants. Restaurant reviews, blogs, photos, home creations and more.
Please tell others about or share this weekly report with a fellow business owner, chefs, butcher shop, supermarket or anyone who is interested in the ever changing meat industry.  They can contact me to be added to the list at Joel@Wenneman.com   I greatly appreciate your kind words or recommendations to others in the industry as well.  I appreciate your feedback as well.
Tell me I'm ugly or I have a bad hair cut...
but please buy your meat products from me in 2020!!!  
 There are a lot of warehouse providers out there, I hope that I can service your company’s needs better, and be an asset to you as your salesperson.   I look forward to your feedback on these weekly updates as well. Please buy your meat from me. Who else gives you a weekly market report like this?
Take a Tour of Wenneman Meat Processing Facility. I’d like to personally give you a tour of our processing facility, so you can see what makes us different than the large warehouse companies. Contact me to schedule your personal tour of our plant.  All current plant tours have been suspended. Stay tuned for further information.
Thank you for the opportunity to EARN your business, trust and friendship.  I am very thankful for your friendship and business. Have a great weekend with your family and friends,

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